Inquiry into Dhulwa Mental Health Unit


The ACT Government has today announced an inquiry into the Dhulwa Mental Health Unit to review its legislative, clinical and governance frameworks to ensure the facility operates under best practice in a safe environment for all workers and patients.

The inquiry will be independently chaired with strong legal and governance expertise to ensure best clinical practice and worker safety at Dhulwa.

Minister for Mental Health Emma Davidson said the inquiry will address the immediate issues that have recently been raised at Dhulwa and ensure clinicians, consumers, staff and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation ACT (ANMF) are involved throughout the process.

“Our nurses should feel safe, supported and confident at work so they can deliver the best possible care across our health system. Following the recent incidents at Dhulwa, it is clear more must be done to ensure nurses feel safe,” Minister Davidson said. 

“Staff and the ANMF have asked for the inquiry to be conducted quickly and with clear and focused terms of reference, so nurses are heard, and findings are operationalised in a timely manner that supports a safer workplace culture.”

“We are now finalising the terms of reference with the ANMF nurses and Canberra Health Services and selecting an independent chair for the inquiry. The pathway forward to establish the inquiry, conduct it, and operationalise the findings will involve staff input so we can achieve the best outcomes for their workplace culture and safety.”

The inquiry will call for submissions, hold hearings as needed and ensure the Chair has unfettered access to any information and staff as required. The inquiry will also be informed by recommendations from the WorkSafe ACT review, Human Rights Commission review and an independent clinical mental health review, as key inputs.

ANMF ACT Branch Secretary Matthew Daniel welcomes the commitment of the Government which responds to ANMF member concerns.

"The establishment of the independent inquiry demonstrates that the Government is serious about listening to nurses and acting to keep them safe,” Mr Daniel said.

Quotes attributable to Canberra Health Services CEO, Dave Peffer

“CHS welcomes this inquiry, which will provide valuable opportunities to learn from external experts as we seek to improve workplace safety and team member wellbeing.”

“We are committed to doing everything we can to keep our team members safe while providing exceptional care for the patients at Dhulwa, and look forward to collaborating with all relevant stakeholders during the inquiry process.”